Bergen’s Greenhouses, based in Detroit Lakes, Minn., is a wholesale grower with a focus on bedding plants, perennials and holiday crops. A fourth-generation family business founded in 1921, the operation grows in 42 acres of covered production space and serves retailers both large and small throughout the upper Midwest.
“We service some of the world’s largest retailers and some of the smallest,” says owner Chris Bergen. “We are happy to do both.”
Each year, Bergen’s Greenhouses manufactures 5 million of their own liners to help meet the demands at their three locations. But when it comes to getting liners for specialty products like begonias, Bergen’s relies on Plantpeddler to meet their needs. This is because begonias can require more attention and technical growing than other common spring annuals like petunias or geraniums.
Plantpeddler’s young begonia liners are clean, heavily rooted and grown in a stress-free environment. Because of this, plants can be planted later if necessary, can achieve higher yields and typically grow as expected. As a kicker, Plantpeddler’s team has more than 200 years of experience growing begonias and can answer any question or address many problems throughout the growing process.
“Items like this have different requirements than many of the other products we are producing during the winter months,” says Bergen, the great-grandson of founder Mary Bergen. “They do a really nice job with production.”
Like Bergen’s Greenhouses, Plantpeddler is a family business. It’s owned by husband and wife duo Mike and Rachel Gooder — and Bergen says a this is a big reason why his relationship with Plantpeddler is so successful. They’ve worked together since 2001. Additionally, Bergen says that Plantpeddler communicates with him from the time he orders liners until well beyond when they are delivered.
Specifically, Plantpeddler works alongside Bergen’s to select varieties, tweak production protocols, ensure timely delivery of any young plant varieties and check in throughout the growing process to make sure the plants are performing as expected. If Bergen has a question or concern, he can be sure he’ll get the support he needs to be successful. Plantpeddler also understands that to have a booming business, they need the growers they work with to do well, too.
“They are committed to getting it right,” he says. “We appreciate the follow-up Mike does once the orders have been delivered.”
Ultimately, Bergen’s Greenhouses wouldn’t be as successful as they have been and lasted for almost a century without having strong relationships with companies like Plantpeddler.
“We count on Plantpeddler as a partner on these programs,” Bergen says. “They are good people who are as serious about being successful as we are.” — Chris Manning